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Penny Pinching Government Fails Prisons

RON MARK MP

Media Release

19 August 2005


Penny Pinching Government Fails Prisons

New Zealand First corrections spokesperson Ron Mark says some of Dr Cullen’s hidden millions could have been used to avoid the staffing and beds crisis that has plagued our prisons.

“For four years we have been saying that prisons are understaffed and corrections officers are underpaid. Instead of addressing the problems by paying a decent entry grade salary, Labour’s penny pinching ways have resulted in a failure to attract high quality staff,” said Mr Mark.

“While Scrooge Cullen has been busy hiding his cash under the mattress, Corrections have been forced to turn to Samoa to recruit prison officers on the cheap rather than pay decent wages to attract Kiwis into the job or encourage serving officers to stay.

“The government needs to compensate officers for the stress and danger that accompany their everyday duties and for the increased workloads placed on them by the Integrated Offender Management System.

“Paying a salary commensurate with those factors would attract more recruits and the low officer to prisoner ratio could be addressed.

“Meanwhile the PSA has rolled over and signed a very cosy but ineffective agreement with the government that prevents it negotiating forcefully for its members.

“Those members now know that the only way they are going to be heard is by voting for New Zealand First,” concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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